The System (Guitar Lesson)

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Allen Van Wert

The System

Allen Van Wert explains his system of programming, reinforcing, and forgetting primary functions of guitar playing. This system is a long term practice routine that will take some time to fully implement but the benefits are great.

Taught by Allen Van Wert in Speed And Technique seriesLength: 50:53Difficulty: 3.0 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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Rusty255Rusty255 replied

Hey Allen. I'm enjoying the system, but am having trouble with 4 - Reinforcing Rhythms. At the 1:40 mark the video throws an error, saying Error Loading Media: File could not be played. I've completed Lesson 6 from the start without issue. Can you have someone look into this at JamPlay? Thanks, Mark

Rusty255Rusty255 replied

I just discovered that I'm getting the same error on Scenes 5-10

trini1trini1 replied

Great stuff... too much distraction, too much repetitive talking.

mookiedogmookiedog replied

ive been playing for 35*yrs, but im always looking at new, and old ways to woodshed, i like the foundation your building on ans relize your probaly just starting the video lesson stuff here, but please for future reference, if im going to follow u, when u skip a note or whatever, even see a different way hit an accent, keep progress moving forward, as it gets off trail and scheme of thought. thanks bud, loved your tab for john [petrucci

raskewraskew replied

Wax on. Wax off.

AlphaNerdHeroAlphaNerdHero replied

Can you use this system with the pentatonic scales ?

JojjeJojje replied

Allen this series is AWSOME!! I see and feel great progress already. That retrograde stuff is really Fing up my brain. but in a good way! Cheers mate!

rivalrival replied

I am having trouble with downloading the Guitarpro file. It downloads a .gpx file document which I can not open in GP5. I need this as I am having tremendous trouble with the rhythms.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied

You may need to rename the file extension and see if it helps. I am no good with the tab software side of things to be honest.

danludwigdanludwig replied

I noticed when you play the D on the 2nd string, sometimes you play it with finger 1 and other times with finger #2. Could you shed some light on this? Should we be practicing it both ways?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied

I may have done that by accident because my fingers wanted to move to another position from habit. For keeping it within one position it should be one finger per fret so in this second position G major scale it would be the middle finger on the 3rd fret.

bluesrunbluesrun replied

Alan, I have been working all the sequences -- groups of 2 or 4 or 5 or 6 in patterns from top to bottom of scale getting a proper musical groove going. I had moved on to the triads and 7th arpeggios but went back and hammer away at this -- I stress accuracy and do it in all keys. Are you saying these ideas will emerge in my lead playing regardless of the style I am playing? These are tons of fun -- close my eyes get the groove and listen to the sound of the pattern!

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied

Yes, you will have all of this sort of stuff happening in your normal playing because it is within most normal playing anyway and even if you only happen to use a rhythmic pattern or portion of an arpeggio, it has already been practiced doing this stuff so it should be easier.

bluesrunbluesrun replied

Alan, I have been working all the sequences -- groups of 2 or 4 or 5 or 6 in patterns from top to bottom of scale getting a proper musical groove going. I had moved on to the triads and 7th arpeggios but went back and hammer away at this -- I stress accuracy and do it in all keys. Are you saying these ideas will emerge in my lead playing regardless of the style I am playing? These are tons of fun -- close my eyes get the groove and listen to the sound of the pattern!

raskewraskew replied

NOTE FOR FUTURE LESSONS: OMG! Stop doing it fast so you can stop apologizing and saying that we are not doing it fast! -- Just makes me laugh. If you want to do it so we can know what's at the end of the tunnel, Play fast just at the beginning OR at the end of the lesson -- not all the way through.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied


raskewraskew replied

NOTE FOR FUTURE LESSONS: OMG! Stop doing it fast so you can stop apologizing and saying that we are not doing it fast! -- Just makes me laugh. If you want to do it so we can know what's at the end of the tunnel, Play fast just at the beginning OR at the end of the lesson -- not all the way through.

thestraightenerthestraightener replied

Dood! Your lessons rule. I am impressed to find such an awesome teacher on here. My question is: how do I work the 'system' into my practice? As of the last few days I have been doing: - ten min on the rudimentary quad exercises - ten min of left-hand hammer-ons - 30 min of 'the system' - trying to get as far as I can but usually only to set of 4's - work on covers (hanger 18 atm!) and my originals I am still really slow at the above exercises - should I spend more time on 'the system', getting through all the sets (to sets of 7 etc.) or just try and get as far as can in 30 min and hopefully speed things up to eventually get through the whole thing? THanks man! Russ

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied

Whatever works time wise for your schedule will help. I know it is rare to have a ton of hours free to practice

kyjohnkyjohn replied

FINALLY!! Drills that make sense to me!! As a guy who has trained and taught Martial Arts for years, Allen's teaching on the "Muscle Memory" of playing and reinforcing make total sense to me (just have to DRILL DRILL DRILL now!) Thank you Bro!

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied

Thank you!

chesterkelseychesterkelsey replied

Hi Allen When you are playing this scale and someof the notes are played twice do you just leave your fingers in position or is there some reason why you should lift them up?Great seriesby the way I am doing stuff that I never thought I would be capable of .Isthere more to come?Thanks and best wishes to you.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied

Lift them up enough to mute and keep them in position when you can.

bluesrunbluesrun replied

Awesome stuff Allen and I thought I was a smooth lead player! How often would you suggest we work on this stuff as I tend to work on pentatonics, arpeggios and sequencing as well I am retired so have lots of time. I do find it helps with good technique and concentration. I can see it would also help us in developing our own licks. Do you suggest working on set of 3 or 4 and moving them from key to key to begin with? I really like this material! I can see it will make me more creative when soloing once I get these patterns burned into the subconscious!

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied

Yes, it might be easier to really drill things in if you work on them a few at a time in all modes and keys. Firstly do them all one set on each fret up to the 12th or so then back down.. then start working modes once you have a good amount down all together and transition them from there.. upcoming lesson videos will contain info on how I do this exactly.

mitkomitko replied

Hey, Allen, great stuff right here! I've been working on my speed for some time now so I've done exercises like the ones in the programming phase (they're SUPER HELPFUL) where you go very very slow and zone in on exactly what your hands are doing. I've managed to get my picking hand to keep the pick close to the string it's picking and to get the fingers of my fretting hand that aren't fretting any notes to stay close to the strings (around 1 cm away)... Except for the pinkie. When I play slow I manage to get it to stay close to the string but when I speed up my pinkie's all over the place (like 2.5-3 cm away from the string). I guess I need to spend some extra time on the programming phase, focus on keeping the pinkie close and very gradually speed up while making sure it's still close to the string at all times. Thanks for this series! Right now I'm able to play sixteenths cleanly at around 140 bpm and I think this kinda exercises will get me to the next level.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied


mrscaryzmrscaryz replied

I knew this as Allen reinforces this many times in his sessions but its nice to see it in one place for others to grasp metaguitar concepts are IMHO so important it makes the difference between the Steve Vai, and Eddit Van halens and the average Joe...IMHO

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

yes this is all going to take awhile

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

woo and i thought i was a good lead player-well now i have much to work on-good stuff man thanx

Nick.AmodeoNick.Amodeo replied

this is great stuff allen.

peinutzpeinutz replied


popsarockrpopsarockr replied

omg! Allen is plugged into the Matrix! Shown the back of your head so I can see the conduit! J/k man! Strangely this makes sense to me.

Speed And Technique

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Allen "Robot" Van Wert teaches his approach to developing technique necessary for fast playing.

Series Introduction And Picking PrimerLesson 1

Series Introduction And Picking Primer

Allen kicks off his technique series with a primer lesson on right hand picking.

Length: 30:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Rudimentary DrillsLesson 2

Rudimentary Drills

Allen shows you the 24 rudiments crucial to developing finger dexterity.

Length: 7:22 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Left Hand Endurance BuildingLesson 3

Left Hand Endurance Building

Allen shows an amazing muscle building exercise that really works out the left hand!

Length: 9:32 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Fundamental Picking ExerciseLesson 4

Fundamental Picking Exercise

This lesson covers an exercise that works on all the major picking techniques.

Length: 11:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Synchronize And StretchLesson 5

Synchronize And Stretch

Allen shows you a great exercise set that helps with synchronizing your hands as well as stretching your left hand.

Length: 8:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The SystemLesson 6

The System

Allen Van Wert explains his system of programming, reinforcing, and forgetting primary functions of guitar playing. This system is a long term practice routine that will take some time to fully implement...

Length: 50:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Interval ExercisesLesson 7

Interval Exercises

This is the next step after you have learned Allen's "system". If you follow Allen's teachings you are sure to have a deep understanding of intervals and scales.

Length: 21:29 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Triad Arpeggio ExercisesLesson 8

Triad Arpeggio Exercises

First, Allen gives a pop quiz for you to check your own ability to visualize the fretboard. Then he gives exercises for programming your triad arpeggios.

Length: 21:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Seventh Arpeggio ExercisesLesson 9

Seventh Arpeggio Exercises

Allen Van Wert shows you how to apply his systematic practice approach to 7th arpeggios. If you are just discovering this series make sure to start at the beginning or some things may not make sense.

Length: 8:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Fretboard AdvancementLesson 10

Fretboard Advancement

Allen briefly explains how he refers to modes in the context of this lesson and then shows you how to grow your knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 15:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Rut Busting ExercisesLesson 11

Rut Busting Exercises

Get out of that rut with these exercises from Allen Van Wert!

Length: 10:44 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Basic TappingLesson 12

Basic Tapping

Allen returns to his speed and technique lesson series with a look at the basics of tapping. This lesson will act as a primer for more advanced tapping concepts and eventual speed increases as well!

Length: 30:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Using Tapping to Extend Your RangeLesson 13

Using Tapping to Extend Your Range

Allen is back with the next installment in his look at tapping. In this lesson Allen discusses and demonstrates how you can use tapping to easily extend your range while playing.

Length: 11:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Single String TappingLesson 14

Single String Tapping

Allen is back with more tapping goodness! This time around, he discusses single string tapping.

Length: 10:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Multi-String TappingLesson 15

Multi-String Tapping

By this time you should have a pretty strong grasp of tapping basics and be proficient at tapping on one string. In lesson 15 of his Speed and Technique series, Allen starts working you up to tapping...

Length: 14:46 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Tapped Octave Minor PentatonicLesson 16

Tapped Octave Minor Pentatonic

In this lesson Allen demonstrates an octave displaced, tapped, minor pentatonic scale. This can be useful for solo work and getting around chord changes!

Length: 10:28 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Emulating KeyboardsLesson 17

Emulating Keyboards

Allen is back with a comprehensive look what what many people call "Touch Tapping." Allen likes to describe this as emulating a keyboard on the guitar.

Length: 32:41 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Combining Tapping TechniquesLesson 18

Combining Tapping Techniques

Now that you should have most of the tapping techniques under your fingers, it's time to put them all together. In this lesson Allen provides you with a piece of music that encompasses all of the techniques...

Length: 11:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
String Skipping ExercisesLesson 19

String Skipping Exercises

To wrap up his current film session and look at the speed and technique series, Allen provides a lesson based around exercises to build your string skipping technique.

Length: 29:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Allen Van Wert

About Allen Van Wert View Full Biography Allen Van Wert got the nickname "ROBOT" from his unusual guitar tapping techniques that often sound like a video game more than a guitar. He has studied and played a wide variety of genres. His experimental and eclectic amalgamation of music combining shred guitar, crazy tapping techniques, and electronically infused composition contrasted by a highly emotional soft melodic side, make his debut album a really fun and interesting listen for just about anyone.

Allen has recorded guitar for the famed video game soundtrack composer Jesper Kyd (Composer of Hitman, Splinter Cell and many other big title games) as well as composing and recording for movie trailers and TV commercials. He has also been producing, recording and co-writing for local artists in his small home/project studio.

His three books on guitar technique, ear training and songwriting have helped many students over the past couple of years. Allen has also played in various cover bands in many genres since the age of 16 and has played to over 5000 on a few occasions. He was a featured guest musician on the album "West Coast Shred Fest".

In his spare time, Allen programs video games for fun. Wooo!

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